The Franklin Mint
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|Headquarters||Exton, PA and New York City, NY|
The Franklin Mint was originally a private mint founded by Joseph Segel in 1964 in Wawa, Pennsylvania. The company is now owned by a private equity firm headquartered in Midtown Manhattan New York City, NY and Exton, Pennsylvania. The Franklin Mint manufactured and marketed coins, jewelry, diecast vehicles, dolls, sculpture and other collectibles. The Franklin Mint has one fulfillment center located in Coatesville, PA.
For five decades The Franklin Mint produced and marketed "collectibles". Their product line began with manufacturing and marketing privately minted gold and silver commemorative rounds and medallions. Besides coins, other offerings included dolls, plates and diecast vehicles. Often emphasized in these media were influential historical figures or famous actors.
In 1983, after Warner Communications had purchased the Franklin Mint, the company entered the diecast vehicle market introducing a 1935 Mercedes Benz 500K Roadster. Usually the cars were labeled as Franklin Mint Precision Models. In the following years, Franklin Mint produced more than 600 different issues of motorcycles, trucks and tractors besides automobiles.
Changes in ownership and current status
In 1980, Warner Communications (now part of Time Warner) purchased The Franklin Mint for about $225 million. The combination was short lived: Warner sold The Franklin Mint in 1985 to American Protection Industries Inc. (API) for $167.5 million. However, Warner retained Eastern Mountain Sports, a retailer that The Franklin Mint had acquired in the 1970s, as well as The Franklin Mint Center, which it leased back to API. API was renamed Roll International in 1993. During the early 2000s, Roll International wound down much of the Franklin Mint business. On August 31, 2006, Roll International Corp sold the remaining assets of The Franklin Mint to a group including a private equity investor and The Morgan Mint.
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund vs Franklin Mint
Following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was granted intellectual property rights over her image. In 1998, after refusing the Franklin Mint an official license to produce Diana merchandise, the fund sued the company, accusing it of illegally selling Diana dolls, plates and jewellery. In California, where the initial case was tried, a suit to preserve the right of publicity may be filed on behalf of a dead person, but only if that person is a Californian. The Memorial Fund therefore filed the lawsuit on behalf of the estate, and upon losing the case were counter sued by Franklin Mint in 2003. In November 2004, the case was settled out of court with the Diana Memorial Fund agreeing to pay £13.5 million (US $21.5 million) to charitable causes on which both sides agreed. In addition to this, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund had spent a total of close to £4 million (US $6.5 million) in costs and fees relating to this litigation, and as a result froze grants allocated to a number of charities.
- Johnson, Dana (1998). Collector's Guide to Diecast Toys and Scale Models (second ed.). Padukah, Kentucky: Collector Books, A Division of Schroeder Publishing. pp. 78–79. ISBN 1-57432-041-6.
- "The Franklin Mint Diecast Model Library". JSS Software. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
- Dinger, Ed (1998). "The Franklin Mint". International Directory of Company Histories 69. Retrieved 2008-05-23.
- Rajan Datar (2005-05-13). "Diana's lost millions". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- "BOND funding guide: Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund". Bond.org.uk. Retrieved 2008-10-13.[dead link]
- "Frequently asked questions". The Work Continues. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
- Krause, Chester (1978). Guidebook of Franklin Mint Issues. Krause Publications. This book lists all products of the mint, with mintages, original price and retail value at publication time.
- The Franklin Mint Almanac (pamphlet), Franklin Mint. Annual printed lists of items issued in that year. All are out of print.